The Poly Synth 'the One'

If u had all ur monos, no vsts, for ur needs and likes what poly, just one, would you keep?
(only for poly duties: playing at least 3 notes at a time)


Novation Summit. I have a Peak and it is so useful and easy to work with. With the split HP/LP filter on the Summit that would be me sorted for pretty much all poly stuff. P5/P6/OB6 might sound sweeter sometimes but can’t do half the things the Peak can.


I’d keep my Alpha Juno 1 because it looks nice, plays well, is easy to program, sounds lovely, is reasonably flexible, but mostly because it’s the first synth I even bought and I’ve had it for almost 30 years now.




Can you elaborate on this? I’m GASing after the sound of an OB6 but often wonder if ill feel limited by lack of flexibility. Like is an OB6 unable to be a bread and butter polysynths? What are your favorite peak features that an OB6 doesn’t have?

Third fully configurable oscillator (not just a sub osc), way more oscillator wave shapes, wavetables, proper FM, more LFOs, much more in-depth mod matrix, better FX (though missing some fx that the OB6 has). The OB-6 has that filter though. I’d love to own one, don’t get me wrong, but it’s not as flexible as the Peak/Summit if you were going to be limited to a single polysynth.


A Virus TI would be my choice, but I always gravitate towards VSTs for poly duties if I’m honest.


Probably an RS-202. I just can’t be bothered to buy and maintain a 40 year old instrument.

My Peak. Sounds great, so flexible, easy to program, can work as an awesome mono (that’s the one I’d keep. If it had to be just one but I could pick any poly available, I’d agree with @finalform and say the Summit.)


Lies :wink:


It is pretty limited when you get into it - I do very often find myself wanting an extra LFO at least.
I basically never use the modwheel as I end up with the LFO modulating things how I want, but changing the depth doesn’t do anything pleasant.

Saying that, the limitations force you to be more clever with what you do, plus it sounds great no matter what you do to it, it just might not be able to do the sound you want.


Working Memorymoog.
Barring that, Prophet 6.
But if one of my monos was an AS-1, OB-Xa? Or Xpander maybe…

1 Like

I don’t want to choose… they each serve specific roles, that’s why I have quite a few - PPG, Prophet-5, MKS-80, OB-Xa, SD-1, Wavestation, K5000s, Alpha Juno 1, etc.

However, if I had to choose, the rather surprising (and agonising) answer(s) is none of the above. Indeed, for pure polyphonic playing, it has to be Haken Continuum.

However, I would also like to sneak in the Analog Keys as a four-voice mono synth, and use it polyphonically on the sly.

If I was looking for a poly synth that was currently in production, and the Continuum wasn’t within reach, I would get something more modern and versatile, like a Kronos. If I wanted a less complex/comprehensive machine, I’d go for a Hydrasynth. If I wanted an analog(ish) synth, I’d probably go for a Summit or Peak rather than an actual analog instrument.


Due to space constraints I currently have my Pro 2 mapped to VSTs: Repro, OB-Xa V.
The great thing about this setup is the physical control combined with the ability to quickly add virtual modulation beyond what a Prophet 5 or OB-Xa could do in the real world.

Because I have grown accustomed to this quick and easy access of modulation, I’d have to go with a poly that doesn’t feel limited for modulation.

I’d be happy with either the Summit or a Prophet 12, but seeing as how I have the Pro 2, I would prefer the Summit, to get some sonic flexibility beyond the DSI sound.


Am I the only person that finds polysynths really, really boring ?

I got very excited when the Prophet 5 rev4 was announced this year: as a young 'un it was the synth I’d always wanted. But I managed to get a grip of myself & realise that yes, whilst it sounds beautiful…it’s still essentially …boring. ** It tends to make ( for me anyway)for quite boring composition …you end up playing chords…yawn. Compared to the places a good modular system will take you…

Now the Subharmonicon - with it’s divide-down faux poly - that’s exciting.

I dunno, I’m being slightly tongue-in-cheek, but I know what I mean… And it very much depends on sort of music you make.

** I spent the money on a Buchla instead.


+1 on a Virus TI2 or any Virus really


Virus vs Peak anyone? :slight_smile:

Both are fantastic sounding synths but since most Viruses are 16 part multi-timbral while the Peak is mono-timbral, a Virus would be my, “The one”.

Not agreeing that the Prophet-5 is Rev4 is boring, but like you I definitely prefer mono synths, and it’s why I have a few. A complex, heavily modulated 3-4 OSC mono produces far more compelling sounds for my own music. Even the 2 OSC Typhon will give me an interesting hook faster than any poly.
Might be different if I made trance and really needed the voices.
My A4 was rarely used as a poly too, though it was nice to have the option as well as the unison for mono sounds.

So yea, I think we all just have different influences and our individual music styles have different demands. Kinda glad my music doesn’t demand a poly, and when it does I can just use a VST. It’s saved me a lot of money.

That said, if I won a Summit in a sweepstakes, I wouldn’t sell it off!


I have a Virus B (Indigo) and a Peak, so granted it’s an old Virus, but I’d much rather use the Peak. The interface is much more immediate and easy to use, despite it having quite a few knobs there’s quite a lot of “menu diving” on the Virus for many common operations and the screen on the old ones is pretty tiny so its not that fun… whereas I feel on the Peak you can do most common stuff aside from modulation setup with the knobs on the front panel, and the mod setup itself is much nicer than on the Virus.

I’d also say the Peak sounds better, but I’m not an expert in these things and that might just be because I enjoy programming it more. It’s the first synth I’ve had where I always just start from init and get to a great sound within a few minutes. It would probably be my choice for this, as its great fun to use, versatile but also has a lot of sweet spots so you don’t have to try too hard if you don’t want to. Obviously if you require multi-timbrality its no good though!